St Ambrose, Westbourne, Bournemouth

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St Ambrose ShieldOverview:

St Ambrose Church is the parish church of Westbourne, Bournemouth. The present church building was designed by architect Charles Hodgson Fowler, with a reredos and font cover by Temple Moore. Building commenced in 1898 and the church was Dedicated on 10th October, 1900. It is a large church in the Perpendicular style, built of honey-coloured Bath stone, with green Westmorland slate roofs. It contains some fine stained glass (east end and aisles by Burlison & Grylls, west window by James Powell of Whitechapel). In addition there are high quality carved oak stalls, statues and carvings by George Walker Milburn, a polychromatic marble pulpit, brass eagle lectern, and wrought-iron rood screen.


St Ambrose, Westbourne, Bournemouth.Sunset on the evening of 17th March, 2012
Whilst St Ambrose is part of the Diocese of Winchester (the Bishop of Winchester is the Patron) it was part of the Oxford Movement from the outset and - having passed Resolutions A, B and C - now continues within the "Forward in Faith" movement having the Bishop of Richborough as its Episcopal Visitor and is a member of the Society under the patronage of Saint Wilfrid and Saint Hilda. The Eucharist is central to the church's life and the main Sunday Mass (Common Worship, Order One) is sung with traditional hymns using the New English Hymnal led by a small choir. The liturgy is enriched with ceremonial, vestments, candles and incense. Sunday Evening Prayer follows the Book of Common Prayer and, on the second Sunday of the month, Evensong is normally followed by Benediction. Weekday services include Holy Communion on Tuesdays (10:30 a.m.) and Fridays (8:00 a.m.) with additional celebrations on the major feasts and fasts. The Bournemouth Ward of the Society of Mary and the local Chapter of the Guild of Servants of the Sanctuary, (dedicated to St. Osmund & St. Swithun) is based at St Ambrose Church, it is the regular venue for the guild offices of the Confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament and the Society of the Holy Cross, and holds an annual festival for the Catholic Societies.

 

Concert given by Bournemouth University on 10th May, 2014

 

The church has a lofty and spacious interior, with excellent acoustics, making it a popular venue throughout the year. The 55-strong Westbourne Orchestra (founded in 1930 as the St Ambrose Orchestra) has its home at the church and puts on three concert programmes a year. Bournemouth University Music, the Bournemouth Male Voice Choir, and other musical groups provide a regular programme of concerts. The church is also very photogenic making it a popular venue for weddings. The church hall (behind the church) is available for hire: for booking enquries call 01202 766772 or email stambrose72@gmail.com. The church is equipped with a full induction loop system for the hearing impaired and there is ample car parking on site and in the surrounding roads.

Viewed from West Cliff Road after the snowfall, 2nd December, 2010

St Ambrose Church a Grade II* Listed Building described as follows:

Architect and dates of main phases: By C. Hodgson Fowler of Durham, 1898-1900. Upper stage of tower, 1907.

Materials: Honey-coloured Bath stone, green Westmorland slate roofs.

Plan: Seven-bay nave, lean-to aisles of six bays, south west porch, north-west porch-tower, chancel with two-bay south chapel, transeptal organ chamber (north), vestries to the north-east. There is a low brick and stone hall to the south, 1968. It has little visual impact on the church.

 

A postcard by Louis Levy, France. Postally unused (c.1907).


Exterior: Mostly Free Perp style. The nave is long and high, with a clerestory rising above lean-to aisles. The aisles are buttressed, with two-light Perp windows. The clerestory has shallow pilaster buttresses. Its windows have three cusped lights, the centre one higher, an arrangement reminiscent of c. 1300. This is the only Dec tracery in the church. The gabled west front grows out of the tower to its left, with a big six-light window balancing the tower's bulk. The base of the tower was built with the church, 1898-1900, and the upper parts added in 1907. It is of four stages, well proportioned, and perhaps based on Somerset models, with angle buttresses rising to polygonal pinnacles. Embattled parapet with concave gabled tops to the merlons, and a small intermediate pinnacle in the centre of each side. The paired two-light bell openings have louvres, one transom, and ogee pinnacled hoodmoulds. The main entrance in the tower base faces north; a big richly moulded doorcase with multiple shafts, slim flanking pinnacles and a crocketed ogee hoodmould. Good Perp traceried two-leaf door. In the north gable of the north transept is a rose window. The transept has vestries attached, north again.

 

A postcard by Louis Levy, France. Postally unused (c.1907).


Interior: The interior is ashlar lined, and the long high nave dominates. It has a good timber roof with tie beams and collars, crown posts, and queen struts braced to the purlins. The nave arcades are conventional; moulded arches, and shafted piers on a quatrefoil plan. Symmetrical lean-to aisles; the north aisle roof was destroyed by fire in 2006, and completely rebuilt in oak to match the original design. It was left unstained. The chancel has a boarded wagon roof with transverse ribs and subsidiary diagonal ribs forming lozenge panelling. The north and south chancel walls have wall-shafts in place of the nave piers, rising to big blind arches which frame the clerestory lights. Elaborate statuary niches flank the east window, which has five lights with Perp tracery and transoms in the heads of the sub-arches (a similar arrangement to the west window). The floors in the body of the church are of pale grey terrazzo with coloured and patterned borders, except the seating areas which are floored with oak parquet. Some scorched blocks remain in the north aisle floor as a reminder of the fire of 2006. The chancel and sanctuary have mosaic floors of buff, with green, gold and black patterned friezes. The south chapel is arranged as a Lady Chapel and has a two arched west entrance with a trumeau figure (a figural statue on the central mullion within the arched opening), depicting the Virgin and Child.

 

The High Altar and Reredos (by Temple Moore) before the riddle posts were removed. Illustration from the Jubilee booklet, 1950.


Principle Fixtures: The splendid reredos was designed by Temple Moore, 1914, and painted and gilded by Head & Son of Colchester, one of Moore's favoured artists. It has a high rectangular frame with a meandering leafy border, and five standing angels across the top. The centre panel has a Crucifixion, with the Annunciation below in a predella. There are two narrow side panels, with three tiers of saints in each. It was dedicated on November 19, 1915. The font is also very fine; a heavy octagonal cup-shaped bowl with concave gables on the sides, and dense carved decoration. The thick stem is surrounded by eight slender colonnettes. Its designer is not known. Temple Moore made sketches in 1912 for the font cover, but he also gave his son Richard the task of designing a font cover for Bournemouth, which is probably this one. It is of oak, very tall, with elaborate Gothic openwork and pinnacles. There is an open wrought-iron pulpit, on a base of Devonshire marble. Also of wrought-iron is the tall chancel screen with matching gates; its lower part came from the old church, and was heightened to suit; it is Gothic in its style, with angel figures. The chancel stalls are of oak, with linenfold fronts, seat backs with pierced friezes of Flamboyant tracery above, simplest panelling below. The bench ends have elaborate tracery, with buttress-like detailing, and big standing figures as finials. The sanctuary has exceptionally crisp traceried dado panelling with built-in sedilia. The south chapel has panelling with linenfold and coloured shields, and a gilded oak reredos in similar style to the other fittings, with three relief panels in white marble. The church has much good stained glass. There are twenty windows by Burlison & Grylls; in the east end (c. 1897-1901) and aisles (c. 1904-18). The west window is by Powell & Sons, 1899, of six lights. The south aisle west has been attributed to Lavers & Westlake, 1891 (unverified), and is dedicated to George Stopford Ram, 1887; he was vicar in the 1880s. It is one of four west windows that are ex situ, and presumably from the previous church in Alumhurst Road.

 

At the west end of the church stands the Font, a carved stone structure of Clipsham stone (Rutlandshire), with a massive oak canopy (which lifts on a counterbalance) designed by Temple Moore and executed by Mr St John, and Messrs Thompson of Peterborough erected the woodwork. The whole was dedicated by her children to the memory of Mary Brodhurst, April 6th, 1914.


History: Westbourne is a superior suburb of Victorian villas around the thickly planted ravine of Alum Chine, bordering the clifftops of Poole to the west. It grew rapidly after the arrival of the Midland Railway in 1874, and was incorporated into Bournemouth in 1884. St Ambrose is one of a number of spectacular High Church foundations in Bournemouth of c. 1880-1900. These stem from the work of the Rev. A.M. Bennett (d. 1880) of St Peter's, the mother church of Bournemouth. The big but undistinguished predecessor church of St Ambrose, Alumhurst Road (by Adams & Horner) was opened in 1880, and enlarged in 1884. The new site was given in 1894 by the Cooper-Dean family, prominent landowners and benefactors to Bournemouth. The church opened in 1900, and the former church became the parish hall; it is now a day centre. The parish of St Ambrose was formed in 1922.

The architect C. Hodgson Fowler (1840-1910) was a pupil of Sir George Gilbert Scott, and became Diocesan architect to York and Durham, also cathedral architect at Lincoln (1890) and Rochester (1898). The north aisle was damaged in an arson attack on November 20, 2006, and its roof has been entirely rebuilt.

 

Aerial view.


Sources:
Pevsner, N. and Lloyd, D., The Buildings of England: Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, (1967), 120.
Geoff Brandwood, Temple Moore, (1997).

Reasons for designation: The Church of St Ambrose is designated at Grade II* for the following principal reasons:
* A handsome design for a large Free Perp church, drawing extensively on High and Late Medieval inspiration.
* An ambitious Somerset-style tower
* Spacious and very long interior, as if designed for processions.
* Refined and decorative reredos by Temple Moore, 1914, continuing the late Gothic theme.
* Wrought-iron screen and pulpit
* Good stained glass, especially that by Burlison & Grylls, a collection of twenty windows installed over two decades.
Originally listed on 27th February, 1976
 

Viewed from West Overcliff Drive on the evening of 17th March, 2012

Parish boundary view Bird's eye view

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The Rev Adrian F Pearce
St Ambrose Vicarage
72a West Cliff Road
Bournemouth
BH4 8BE
01202 911569 (Rev Adrian F Pearce) or 01202 766772 (Parish Office answerphone)

Send an Email

  • Special Events
  • Regular Services
  • Other Events
Printer friendly list of events
☕️ Coffee Morning for the Missions to Seafarers
As a coastal parish we have long supported the Missions to Seafarers and this annual coffee morning is held on the Saturday closest to the anniversary of Trafalgar day (21st October, 1805).
Saturday 21st October 2017 at 10:00 AM for 2 hours
Family Friendly Refreshments
 
🔵 Requiem Mass for departed members of the Society of Mary
A Requiem Mass for departed members of the Society of Mary. 🔵 This event is part of the Society of Mary calendar but all are welcome. The service will be followed by the A.G.M. of the local ward of the Society.
Saturday 18th November 2017 at 10:30 AM for 1 hour
Incense
 
Pre-Christmas Fair
The Pre-Christmas Fair is always a bustling affair with home-made gifts and decorations, as well as refreshments, raffles, stalls and you may even meet Father Christmas!
Saturday 25th November 2017 at 10:00 AM for 2 hours
Family Friendly Refreshments Mince Pies
 
Advent Carol Service
The Advent Carol Service replaces evensong on this Sunday only.
Sunday 3rd December 2017 at 4:00 PM for 1 hour
Christmas Carols
 
Patronal Festival Mass
Patronal Festival Mass on St Ambrose' Day (7th December).
Thursday 7th December 2017 at 6:00 PM for 1 hour
Family Friendly Incense Common Worship
 
🔵 Joyful Mysteries followed by Mass of the Immaculate Conception.
Joyful Mysteries followed by Mass of the Immaculate Conception. 🔵 This event is part of the Society of Mary calendar but all are welcome.
Saturday 9th December 2017 at 10:00 AM for 1 hour
Incense
 
Patronal Festival Lunch
Patronal Festival Lunch at the Collingwood Hotel. In November a list will be placed at the back of the church for those intending to attend the lunch (to assist with catering).
Sunday 10th December 2017 at 12:30 PM for 1½ hours
Family Friendly
 
Midnight Mass
Celebrating Midnight Mass is an established and popular tradition at St Ambrose Church. This service, the first Mass of Christmas, includes the blessing of the Crib and lighting the Christmas candle in the Advent Wreath.
Sunday 24th December 2017 at 11:30 PM for 1 hour
Family Friendly Incense Common Worship Christmas Carols
 
Christmas Day Mass (said)
Monday 25th December 2017 at 8:00 AM for ½ hour
Book of Common Prayer
 
Christmas Day Mass (sung)
Monday 25th December 2017 at 10:00 AM for 1 hour
Family Friendly Creche Incense Common Worship Christmas Carols
 
Printer friendly list of events

Sunday

Said Mass (BCP)
This office is said in the Lady Chapel.
Every Sunday at 8:00 AM for ½ hour
Book of Common Prayer
Sung Mass (CW)
This is the main Sunday service at St Ambrose Church.
Every Sunday at 10:00 AM for 1 hour
Family Friendly Refreshments Incense Common Worship
Evensong (BCP)
Evening Prayer is normally sung (sometimes unaccompanied) or said in the Chancel.
Every Sunday at 4:00 PM for ½ hour
Book of Common Prayer
Benediction
Evensong is normally followed by Benediction on the second Sunday of the month.
Every second Sunday at 4:30 PM for 10 minutes
Incense

Tuesday

Said Mass
This office is said in the Lady Chapel.
Every Tuesday at 10:30 AM for ½ hour
Common Worship

Friday

Said Mass (BCP)
This office is said in the Lady Chapel.
Every Friday at 8:00 AM for ½ hour
Book of Common Prayer
Printer friendly list of events
☕️ Coffee Morning for the Missions to Seafarers
As a coastal parish we have long supported the Missions to Seafarers and this annual coffee morning is held on the Saturday closest to the anniversary of Trafalgar day (21st October, 1805).
Saturday 21st October 2017 at 10:00 AM for 2 hours
Family Friendly Refreshments
🔵 Requiem Mass for departed members of the Society of Mary
A Requiem Mass for departed members of the Society of Mary. 🔵 This event is part of the Society of Mary calendar but all are welcome. The service will be followed by the A.G.M. of the local ward of the Society.
Saturday 18th November 2017 at 10:30 AM for 1 hour
Incense
Pre-Christmas Fair
The Pre-Christmas Fair is always a bustling affair with home-made gifts and decorations, as well as refreshments, raffles, stalls and you may even meet Father Christmas!
Saturday 25th November 2017 at 10:00 AM for 2 hours
Family Friendly Refreshments Mince Pies
Advent Carol Service
The Advent Carol Service replaces evensong on this Sunday only.
Sunday 3rd December 2017 at 4:00 PM for 1 hour
Christmas Carols
Patronal Festival Mass
Patronal Festival Mass on St Ambrose' Day (7th December).
Thursday 7th December 2017 at 6:00 PM for 1 hour
Family Friendly Incense Common Worship
🔵 Joyful Mysteries followed by Mass of the Immaculate Conception.
Joyful Mysteries followed by Mass of the Immaculate Conception. 🔵 This event is part of the Society of Mary calendar but all are welcome.
Saturday 9th December 2017 at 10:00 AM for 1 hour
Incense
Patronal Festival Lunch
Patronal Festival Lunch at the Collingwood Hotel. In November a list will be placed at the back of the church for those intending to attend the lunch (to assist with catering).
Sunday 10th December 2017 at 12:30 PM for 1½ hours
Family Friendly
Midnight Mass
Celebrating Midnight Mass is an established and popular tradition at St Ambrose Church. This service, the first Mass of Christmas, includes the blessing of the Crib and lighting the Christmas candle in the Advent Wreath.
Sunday 24th December 2017 at 11:30 PM for 1 hour
Family Friendly Incense Common Worship Christmas Carols
Christmas Day Mass (said)
Monday 25th December 2017 at 8:00 AM for ½ hour
Book of Common Prayer
Christmas Day Mass (sung)
Monday 25th December 2017 at 10:00 AM for 1 hour
Family Friendly Creche Incense Common Worship Christmas Carols
Christmas Carol Service
The Christmas Carol Service replaces evensong on this Sunday only.
Sunday 31st December 2017 at 4:00 PM for 1 hour
Christmas Carols

Features

Toilets

Wheelchair accessible toilets

(Hymn Books / Orders of Service etc.)

Assistance dogs (eg guide dogs, hearing dogs, dogs for the disabled) welcome
Stained Glass
Organ

 

Study Group (alternate Wednesdays) Contact Fr Nathan on 01202 914151
     
Guided Tours

Foodbank or foodbank collection point
Hall for Hire Enquiries for Hall Bookings may be left on the Parish Office answerphone (normally checked more than once a day), or email the church at stambrose72@gmail.com
Other information
Honorary priest in charge: The Revd Adrian Francis PEARCE
A Church Near You ID (venue number): 18394
Built: 1900
Architect: Charles Hodgson Fowler (1840-1910)
Style of worship: Traditional Catholic
Our Patron: Saint Ambrose
Archdeaconry: BOURNEMOUTH (412)
Deanery: BOURNEMOUTH (41201)
Benefice: Bournemouth St Ambrose (41/031 J)
Parish Legal Name: St. Ambrose Bournemouth (410169 )
CofE Church Info: (641169 41/169)
Short URL: acny.uk/18394/
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The current editor is: Alwyn Ladell

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This page was last updated on Wednesday 11th October 2017
 
 
 
St Ambrose, Westbourne : 72 West Cliff Road, Bournemouth, Dorset, BH4 8BE - Westbourne

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